A feasibility trial of Power Up: Smartphone app to support patient activation and shared decision making for mental health in young people
Hollis, Chris P.
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BACKGROUND: Digital tools have the potential to support patient activation and shared decision making in the face of increasing levels of mental health problems in young people. There is a need for feasibility trials of digital interventions to determine the usage and acceptability of interventions. In addition, there is a need to determine the ability to recruit and retain research participants to plan rigorous effectiveness trials and, therefore, develop evidence-based recommendations for practice. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the feasibility of undertaking a cluster randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a smartphone app, Power Up, co-designed with young people to support patient activation and shared decision making for mental health. METHODS: Overall, 270 young people were screened for participation and 52.5% (142/270) were recruited and completed baseline measures across 8 specialist child mental health services (n=62, mean age 14.66 (SD 1.99) year; 52% [32/62] female) and 2 mainstream secondary schools (n=80; mean age 16.88 [SD 0.68] years; 46% [37/80] female). Young people received Power Up in addition to management as usual or received management as usual only. Posttrial interviews were conducted with 11 young people from the intervention arms (specialist services n=6; schools n=5). RESULTS: Usage data showed that there were an estimated 50 (out of 64) users of Power Up in the intervention arms. Findings from the interviews indicated that young people found Power Up to be acceptable. Young people reported (1) their motivation for use of Power Up, (2) the impact of use, and (3) barriers to use. Out of the 142 recruited participants, 45.0% (64/142) completed follow-up measures, and the approaches to increase retention agreed by the steering group are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study indicate that the app is acceptable, and it is feasible to examine the effectiveness of Power Up in a prospective cluster randomized controlled trial. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02552797; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02552797 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6td6MINP0).